Legalizing Marijuana Is Much Deeper. David Brooks Gets It Wrong

Marijuana David Brooks

David Brooks wrote an op-ed today that makes one wonder if he was having yet another off day. He came out to lament Colorado and Washington’s legalizing marijuana.

Drugs and alcohol were never my thing. Though, I had absolutely no problem with those who did their thing responsibly. Unlike David Brooks, I never willingly smoked marijuana though I did inhale.

I played in a reggae band in Austin for about two weeks at a nudist colony. All the members would pass the dutchie (a rather thick joint), from member to member. I would simply pass it to the next. I might as well have smoked the dutchie given the fog in the room by the end of the session. I inhaled much of that second hand smoke.

David Brooks seem to believe that all these ‘new’ joint smokers would be in a marijuana induced stupor. I have been around users of coke, marijuana, pill poppers, and the reality is that the reaction is personal in nature. Most in my circles were generally in full control.

Does David Brooks not know he is likely surrounded by marijuana users?

David Brooks fails to realize that a large swath of Americans that he is interacting with are on so many drugs, legal and illegal that his concern of “nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be,” has likely occurred already. It is almost guaranteed that many in his office are already on depressants or other drugs.

My biggest beef with David Brook’s piece however is his singular attack on marijuana. Is alcohol any better than marijuana? Alcohol kills brain cells and destroys many organs. It has been linked to various types of cancers. Marijuana may or may not share some or all of those side effects as well. Why then should one be legal and the other not. Why should the use of marijuana have a negative connotation while alcohol not?

Many marijuana users sing praises for the freedom it gives them to smoke without fear. Others believe the tax collected is more effective in government’s hands than in those of the illegal drug dealers. Others believe bringing it out in the open allows for those that get addicted to get support from state dollars collected from the tax on marijuana. The stigma of seeking treatment would attenuate. Bill Maher thinks support for broader legalization of marijuana can get you elected. I view it as one less avenue by which mostly minority youth lives can be destroyed by a legal system that disproportionately target them for harsher sentences.

While David Brooks meanders in platitudes, those supporting legalization of marijuana now, and hopefully other drugs later, live in today’s reality. If your drug use does not have a physical or financial impact on me, you should have the freedom to do it. I thought that was a Conservative mantra as well.

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  2. It’s pretty simple…we have government agencies to insure the safety and reliability of everything we buy. Whether we buy it or not has to be our decision, not the government’s. Beyond that, people should be disciplined and punished only if they do harm to others…for their actions, not their lifestyle.

  3. Legalisation has a number of benefits.

    Amongst others:

    It’s no longer a “gateway” drug (gateway comes by virtue of bringing people into contact with the illegal suppliers. not the drug itself)

    You don’t get incidents such as dealers who think it’s a great idea to sprinkle a little crystal meth or other contaminant onto the product in order to encourage people to move to something more profitable (I’ve had firsthand experience, taking friends who reacted very badly to ERs)

    It actually _reduces_ the attractiveness of the drug – forbidden fruit, etc.

    Hopefully this will spread ad maybe lawmakers will see some sense about taking income away from organised crime by providing _safe_, _uncontaminated_, _legal_ supplies which are taxed, regulated and undercut illegal supplies. The only reason people are pushing crack at schoolkids is because there’s massive profit to be made (along with the risk), so take away the profit.

    Drug addiction and trafficking is a health issue. Treat it as one.

  4. Here in Holland weed has been depenalized to a great extent (we are facing a problem with growers, but that’s another question) .
    The results here have been that the amount of new smokers actually declined. Many people just don’t feel attracted to weed as it has lost a lot of “underground coolness”.

    And on the other hand people who do smoke a joint aren’t forced to get in contact with dealers and this way with an underground scene and with harder drugs.

    Drugs such as speed (Amfetamine) have just ceased to be a problem anymore. Pills are very widespread in the party / dance scene but quite pure (MDMA) and controlled by an independent lab. They are illegal to sell but if somebody is caught with them nothing happens. I have no idea how people get these but I know that it is considered very harmless.

    Meth is unknown here, coke is very limited and users not problematic and heroin is practically unknown.

    Our main drugs issue is right now alcohol abuse among the youth; there are several serious trends like “coma-drinking” (yes, it is exactly what it sounds ) and we still have to manage legal growing of weed to feed our coffee-shops.

    A personal note: I am an athlete I do not smoke, anything, and I do not take other drugs but a beer from time to time.

  5. David Brooks is talking from personal opinion. He doesn’t cite any references, credible or not, for his reasoning. He just offers a lot of generic, anti-smoking talking points. Anyone who gleans anything other than that from his op-ed piece are just as ignorant as he is.

  6. Really! Side effects ? Like ? Name just one that is worse than most prescription drugs ! The one my doctor gave me for arthritis causes severe stomach problems ! Marijuana has medical use for appetite enhancing in cancer patients not to mention pain control in some cases of chronic back pain ! Exactly what good deeds does meth or crack perform ? Those kind of adicts have a free ride to health care,while my 77 year old mother has to pay a outrageous price for her blood pressure pills and other much needed medication ! Maybe I will just give her a joint to lower her BP lesson her anxiety !

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